updated 12:16 am EDT, Wed September 11, 2013
Adobe squashes 14 security issues in latest update to Flash for browsers
It wasn't only about iPhones and iOS on Tuesday -- Apple continues to keep an eye out for potential security threats and, where possible, prevent them. A recent silent update to Apple's built-in (for Snow Leopard and higher) XProtect anti-malware software blocked all but the most recent update to Java due to security concerns, and today another update to XProtect did the same thing to all but the very latest release of Flash, as Adobe released a patch that fixes some 14 bugs that could have compromised user security.
The XProtect update blocks Flash versions 11.8.800.94 and earlier, however users can easily upgrade to the latest stable version -- 11.8.800.168 -- by either updating through the Flash system preference pane in System Preferences, or by obtaining and installing it directly from Adobe. While the Flash Player update has been available for a few days, Adobe on Tuesday updated Shockwave Player, Adobe Reader and Acrobat for OS X and other operating systems to fix further bugs -- a total of 14, with most in Adobe Reader and Acrobat.
The company said the vulnerabilities "could cause a crash and potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system," in Flash Player, Reader and Acrobat, and that bugs in Shockwave Player could allow attackers to "run malicious code on the affected system," reports FairerPlatform. Google Chrome users will be automatically updated and need do nothing, while users of other browsers should either update Flash to the latest version or disable it in their web browsers entirely. Safari automatically disables Flash if it hasn't been used in a month, but will reactivate it if it is up-to-date at the time it is needed.
Adobe AIR should also be updated for Mac users, to the latest version: 188.8.131.520. XProtect is silently updated by Apple and users do not need to consult Software Update in order to keep it running -- it is built into Apple's current and previous two OS releases, Snow Leopard (10.6.x), Lion (10.7.x) and Mountain Lion (10.8.x).